Range Report: SIG P365XL Spectre — Battle Worn

SIG P365XL Spectre with slide locked open and partial box on ammunition on an outdoor range shooting bench

The SIG P365 has been a popular handgun for SIG. The pistol is well designed for concealed carry, offers a 10-round magazine capacity, and has earned an enviable reputation for reliability. The P365 is more accurate than you would expect from a sub-compact pistol and has more than a little style. The newest SIG P365 is a variation on the popular XL series.

The XL types are SIG pistols with a longer slide and barrel, and special grip treatment and finish. With larger handguns, the pistols are easier to shoot well but end up primarily being range guns due to their size. The SIG P365XL is a larger, and slightly heavier, handgun but still a perfect size handgun for concealed carry. The P365XL Spectre is concealable but easier to shoot well than most pistols.

SIG P365XL Spectre 9mm handgun right profile
The P365XL Spectre is a wild looking handgun in some ways.

SIG P365XL Spectre Features

Among the most interesting features of the SIG P365XL Spectre is the battle-worn or distressed finish of the slide. With the frame treatment and overall quality, this is a distinctive pistol with a lot of eye appeal. There is a certain attraction to well-worn firearms. They are friendly, and like a pair of broken-in boots or worn jeans, they give folks like us a nice warm feeling.

But the finish isn’t something that will wear or corrode, because the finish isn’t actually worn. The texture is a result of tumbling after the slide is finished. After it exits the tumbling media, each slide is unique in appearance with no two being quite the same.

In common with other XL pistols, the P365XL is a product of the SIG custom works shop. The slide features a cut out that is a stylized X just behind the front post sight. The slide, incidentally, is stainless steel under the battle worn finish.

The cut is well done and an impressive piece of machining. The slide is relatively smooth with no sharp edges — as it should be for concealed carry. The pistol features both rear and forward cocking serrations.

This is an easy handgun to manipulate. Loading, racking the slide, unloading, or making the pistol ready isn’t a chore. The pistol is fitted with SIG X-RAY sights. X-RAY sights were familiar to me from long use with my first P365 9mm pistol.

Battle worn X machining on the slide of the SIG P365XL
The slide features excellent machine work and a battle worn finish.

These sights feature a fluorescent circle around the bright front sight and two dots in the rear sight. Radioactive tritium makes for true 24-hour sighting ability. If the need arises, you may rack the slide by using the wedge-type rear sight. I think releasing the slide after a reload by wedging the rear sight on a belt or boot heel is viable with this setup.

While the slide catches the eye, the polymer receiver holding the stainless-steel chassis has also received special treatment. The grip tang is extended for better feel and recoil control. Grip texture provides what most of us will find to be an ideal balance of adhesion and abrasion.

Once you have affirmed the grip, the pistol isn’t going anywhere whether the hand is wet, cold, or sweaty. The grip treatment includes recesses in the grip that give the shooter greater purchase than the standard P365 did. The trigger guard is slightly elongated compared to the SIG P365.

grip treatment on the SIG P365XL grip
The SIG’s grip treatment is excellent.

The trigger is an interesting development. The trigger is flat and promotes straight-to-the-rear trigger compression. Trigger break was clean. Riding the trigger to the break, and then catching the reset, results in very good fast shooting. Several subcompact pistols cramp my average-size hand and trigger finger. The P365XL Spectre treatment feels much better than most — in fact any other subcompact I have fired.

The pistol is supplied with two 12-round flush-fit magazines. This gives the shooter two more rounds than the 10-shot P365. A word of warning, the magazine springs are very strong, as they must be. It is asking a lot to feed 12 rounds in such a small magazine from full compression to almost no compression. It takes considerable effort and a magazine loader to load the magazines to full capacity. After the initial range session and break-in period, the magazines became slightly less difficult to load.

SIG Romeo red dot mounted on a pistol slide
The SIG Romeo offers easy windage and elevation adjustments.

At the Range

Firing the pistol was a pleasure. Most of the ammunition used was Fiocchi FMJ in 124-grain, Federal American Eagle 124-grain, and Federal Syntech 9mm. The pistol never failed to feed, chamber, fire, or eject. Recoil was controllable. This is a 21-ounce pistol, so there is recoil energy.

The pistol isn’t as comfortable to fire as a SIG P320, but recoil wasn’t sharp or painful. The grip treatment and trigger combined to give the shooter excellent control in firing strings. The sights offer a good picture. Firing at man-sized targets at 5 and 7 yards, the Spectre proved effective in taking out the X-ring.

IN fact, most hits were in the X-ring with a few in the 8 and 9 rings. Aim, press the trigger, allow the pistol to reset in recoil, and fire again. For testing absolute accuracy, I included three loads. These were the Fiocchi 124-grain Extrema, Federal 124-grain HST, and Hornady 115-grain Critical Defense. I fired from a solid benchrest position at 15 yards.

Firing five-shot groups, I managed several five-shot 2.0-inch groups. The pistol is certainly accurate enough for defense use. The P365 is a reliable handgun and easy enough to use in combat drills. It is more accurate than I expected and has a certain eye appeal and pride of ownership that make the pistol enjoyable to own and fire.

Added Gear

Since the pistol is optics ready, I elected to add the SIG Romeo Zero red dot for the final leg of evaluation. This is a compact red dot with a footprint less than one-inch wide. The Romeo Zero features a dot with 8 brightness adjustments. It is a good match for the P365XL. The lines mesh well.

SIG P365XL 9mm pistol right profile with SIG Romeo sight
The SIG Romeo is a neat compact addition to the SIG Spectre 9mm.

The housing is polymer making for light weight. Battery life is an astonishing 20,000 hours — red dots and batteries have come a long way. Windage and elevation adjustments are accessible and easily handled. The sight, despite its modest price and small profile, has proven durable on several pistols I have tested.

The lowest brightness setting was used in dim light in order not to overpower the target. The Romeo Zero is a valid addition to the SIG P365XL Spectre. Hit probability is excellent for those who practice. This is an excellent all-around set up for personal defense.

Specs: SIG P365XL Spectre

Caliber: 9mm Luger
Sights: SIG X-RAY
Capacity: Two 12-round magazines included
Length: 6.6 inches
Width: 1.1 inch
Barrel length: 3.7 inches
Weight: 21 ounces

Carrying Concealed

Carrying the pistol concealed requires some research and shopping for the best holster. The Galco Quicktuk Cloud inside-the-waistband holster proved ideal. With a supple, breathable nylon backing over cell foam, the holster helps eliminate moisture. With this backing facing the body and a rigid Kydex holster holding the handgun, the Quicktuk Cloud is secured to the belt by a well-designed belt clip.

SIG P365XL pistol in a Galco QuickTuk Cloud IWB holster
The Galco QuickTuk Cloud is a first class inside the waistband holster. It has a tuckable option.

Once the Uni hook is placed over the belt, it locks back into the holster. This is an excellent design that solves many problems of the tuckable/IWB type. While it is designed for tuckable use, I never use a tuckable. The holster works just fine deployed as a conventional IWB holster.

The SIG P365XL Spectre rides light on the hip, and the Galco holster offers a good balance of speed and retention. That makes for a powerful personal defense combination. Share your review of the SIG P365XL Spectre or how it compares to your EDC rig in the comment section.

  • SIG P365XL Spectre with slide locked open and partial box on ammunition on an outdoor range shooting bench
  • SIG P365XL Spectre with slide locked open and partial box on ammunition on an indoor range shooting bench
  • sight picture on a paper target at an indoor range
  • grip treatment on the SIG P365XL grip
  • Battle worn X machining on the slide of the SIG P365XL
  • SIG P365XL 9mm pistol right profile with SIG Romeo sight
  • SIG Romeo red dot mounted on a pistol slide
  • Optics ready SIG P365XL slide with mounting plate removed
  • front sight view of the SIG P365 through a SIG Romeo sight
  • SIG P365XL pistol in a Galco QuickTuk Cloud IWB holster
  • green Tritium front sight post on a pistol
  • straight trigger on the SIG P365XL Spectre
  • SIG P365XL Spectre 9mm handgun right profile

About the Author:

Wilburn Roberts

When Wilburn Roberts was a young peace officer, he adopted his present pen name at the suggestion of his chief, as some of the brass was leery of what he might write. This was also adopted out of respect for families of both victims and criminals. The pen name is the same and the man remains an outspoken proponent of using enough gun for the job.

He has been on the hit list of a well-known hate group, traveled in a dozen countries and written on many subjects, including investigating hate crimes and adopting the patrol carbine. He graduated second in his class with a degree in Police Science. It took him 20 years to work himself from Lieutenant to Sergeant and he calls it as he sees it.
The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (9)

  1. “The trigger guard is slightly elongated compared to the SIG P365.”

    I respectfully beg to differ. The dimensions of the trigger guard of the SIG P365 and P365 XL are the same. The P365 XL’s flat trigger may give the illusion that it’s trigger guard may be shorter due to the trigger’s profile, but not elongated. The standard P365’s trigger conversely would give one the impression that the trigger guard is bigger due to the conventional arched trigger and the additional space that would be provided for the trigger finger.

  2. Kudos to SIG for Imagination in marketing the P365XL Battle Worn pistol. +1
    Take blemished and finish reject parts, throw them in a case tumbler,
    and promote it to gullible customers. Less waste helps the environment.
    What was that old adage about necessity and invention?
    A thick layer of cerakote also hides imperfections well,
    but this is sheer Genius at work. YMMV

  3. Recently I retired my SigP22045 to a “fun” and house gun. I purchased this Sig when they first came with replaceable front sights, about 1991. ( i had gotten a considerable amount of use out of a “European” mag release 220 prior to my “New” Sig) Since then it has seen nearly 250,000 rounds fired through it (98% plus full power loads). Still has the original barrel. I was a firearms trainer for many years as well as being an Executive Protection Agent for several years. I carried that 220 everywhere! When I retired, I found myself not carrying as much, and sometimes just having only a sub caliber pocket pistol. When the 365 came out I was rather taken with it and eventually purchased a 365XL. I carry virtually all the time once again, which I find gives me much better peace of mind, given our “social” situation. I am not a huge fan of 9mm, but I do recognize the validity of it’s stopping percentages. The 365 carries Very well – i would really like to find a quality holster (in left hand) to fit this splendid device! Currently I amusing a Galco Concealable made for a Glock 26/7 – which has never had a G26/7 in it! Gee, how much better does it get? A small, slender, lightweight Sig with decent mag capacity that shoots well and presents like a large frame firearm. Love it!

  4. David

    The holster is among the most comfortable and well designed. It rides inside the pants, the clips clip to the belt. The GALCO holster spreads the weight of the handgun out on the belt. This is a first class holster, excellent design.

  5. Pete
    I think it is clear benchrest testing is not combat testing but testing for accuracy and performance, fitting, even handfit at longer than average range. A good test of the pistol’s sights, trigger, barrel, and other factors. A mix of off hand and benchrest testing is beneficial. You may not understand the procedure. You need to know if you fire accurately at 15 yards and do everything right the shot should land, in this case, within an inch of the point of aim. Only braced firing supports this.
    This has been a standard procedure performed by most writers at American Rifleman, American Handgunner, Guns and Ammo and Handguns for more than forty years!

  6. You wrote “. I fired from a solid benchrest position at 15 yards. Firing five-shot groups, I managed several five-shot 2.0-inch groups. The pistol is certainly accurate enough for defense use.”


    Never heard of testing a gun for concealed carry where it’s put on a benchrest to detemine if it can put enough rounds into a bad guy to end the threat. I’m also not sure he’s going to wait for you to put it on a benchrest first.

    You said you did this to test its “absolte accuracy.” Seem to me the way to test the “absolute accuracy” of a 9mm pistol is to use ammo specifically made for competition target shooting and not for self-defense.

  7. I have a sig 365 in two tone, no safety. This gun was duty ready right outta the box and it’s scary accurate. Not real happy with finish, but only change I made was to add mag extenders to both mags to make holding gun more easy for me. I am not (never will be) a fan of 9mm, but even I must admit this gun is great for ease of carry and shooting at bad breath distance. A real handy tool for EDC use. This gun review was interesting, but is not what I would carry. I recommend the regular sig 365 for ease of pocket carry and a good shooter

  8. To each his own. Personally, I think the battle worn distressed look is right up there with torn jeans. It looks like crap to me.

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